Street News

Lemon-colored glasses

Lemon-colored glasses Lemon-colored glasses

In the 1960s, colored headlights were all the rage, particularly for customs and gassers. Bright colors like red, blue, and yellow were all popular colors. Colored headlights have fallen out of favor on the street, but remain popular for the automotive counter-culture, especially for gassers. You can buy colored headlamps on Ebay, but then that would take all the fun out of it.

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We have a 1962 Comet wagon that desperately needed to be set apart from the pack (sarcasm), and tinted headlights fit the bill. Because buying pre-made stuff teaches us nothing, we did some research and figured out a quick and easy method to tinting headlamps. Anybody can do this at home.

The process requires a few specialized coatings. To get the paint to stick to the glass, you need an adhesion promoter. This is the number one most important step. Without the adhesion promoter, the paint can peel off. Glass is smooth and paint needs a little grit to grab onto, the adhesion promoter provides that. In fact, adhesion promoter is a good idea anytime you are painting glass or plastic.

For the actual tint color, you need candy paint. We used House of Kolor’s Kandy Concentrates in Lime Gold Kandy, but you don’t have to use professional paints, there are several rattle-can versions of candy paints available at any parts store, such as Duplicolor Nightshades or MetalCast Anodized Color paints. While the base-clear method we are using here produces longer lasting results, the rattle-can paints will get the job done and can be easily repeated. We have heard that the aerosol spray can paint fades after a couple of years.

Once the color is on the lamps, it needs to be sealed. Since we used House of Kolors Kandy, we matched that with HoK Show Clear. If you use the rattle-can paints, you can match it up with clear coat from that paint system.

A note for legality- the men in blue uniforms take issue with red and blue colored lights on the street, but most of the time will let the other colors slide, since they don’t give the appearance of “impersonating a police officer”. Don’t paint your headlights red or blue if you drive on the street. We only tinted the high beam bulb on the Comet wagon, that way it is only lit up when the high beams are on, and doesn’t affect visibility.

The tinting process takes a couple of hours, with drying time in the middle. Airbrush artist and professional painter Scotty Mccubbin transformed our headlamps, but you can get the same results if you take your time and follow the steps. Just don’t practice on your wife’s minivan, it doesn’t garner the same reaction…

We bought a new pair of sealed beam headlights for the Comet and prepped the surface with a fine scotchbrite pad.

We bought a new pair of sealed beam headlights for the Comet and prepped the surface with a fine scotchbrite pad.

Then the surface was sprayed down with wax and grease remover. This takes off any fingerprints, grease or other possible contaminants that will affect the final finish.

Then the surface was sprayed down with wax and grease remover. This takes off any fingerprints, grease or other possible contaminants that will affect the final finish.

Cleanliness is everything, we used a cloth to wipe off the grease remover and placed the lamps on a clean table.

Cleanliness is everything, we used a cloth to wipe off the grease remover and placed the lamps on a clean table.

Here is the most important step- spraying the adhesion promoter. Follow the instructions on the can; it does not take much to do the job. Once this is on the lamps, don’t touch them.

Here is the most important step- spraying the adhesion promoter. Follow the instructions on the can; it does not take much to do the job. Once this is on the lamps, don’t touch them.

We wanted yellow lights, so we grabbed a can of Lime Gold Kandy from House of Kolors. This stuff is seriously bright. Pun intended.

We wanted yellow lights, so we grabbed a can of Lime Gold Kandy from House of Kolors. This stuff is seriously bright. Pun intended.

Since we are spraying this using a traditional paint system, we measured out some HoK SG100 clear paint base, this is NOT clear coat, it is the base liquid for the color stage.

Since we are spraying this using a traditional paint system, we measured out some HoK SG100 clear paint base, this is NOT clear coat, it is the base liquid for the color stage.

Then Scotty mixed in the Kandy. This is a custom mix; you can make it as intense or subtle as you want.

Then Scotty mixed in the Kandy. This is a custom mix; you can make it as intense or subtle as you want.

You see that it looks like egg yolk in the cup, if we sprayed this over silver, it would stay like this, but since it is going over a clear substrate, the intensity will drop.

You see that it looks like egg yolk in the cup, if we sprayed this over silver, it would stay like this, but since it is going over a clear substrate, the intensity will drop.

We shot 4 coats of color on the lights to get the color as deep as possible, letting the paint dry 10-15 minutes between coats.

We shot 4 coats of color on the lights to get the color as deep as possible, letting the paint dry 10-15 minutes between coats.

Once the last coat had dried, Scotty wiped them down with a tack cloth. This ensures any dust that had settled on them is wiped away.

Once the last coat had dried, Scotty wiped them down with a tack cloth. This ensures any dust that had settled on them is wiped away.

We mixed up some House of Kolors Show Clear and fogged it on the lamps. Two coats will get it done.

We mixed up some House of Kolors Show Clear and fogged it on the lamps. Two coats will get it done.

The final look is very cool; you can see the green essence in the Lime Gold color. Perfect.

The final look is very cool; you can see the green essence in the Lime Gold color. Perfect.

The lamps install just like any other headlamp, the outer ring gets removed first.

The lamps install just like any other headlamp, the outer ring gets removed first.

Then the retainer ring comes off.

Then the retainer ring comes off.

These are the high beams, but the bulbs are high & low beams, which means they have 3 prongs. The third prong gets bent up so the two-prong plug will mount up. Now is a great time to upgrade the wiring.

These are the high beams, but the bulbs are high & low beams, which means they have 3 prongs. The third prong gets bent up so the two-prong plug will mount up. Now is a great time to upgrade the wiring.

Just like the old lamps, the new lamps slip right into place and the old retainers are reinstalled.

Just like the old lamps, the new lamps slip right into place and the old retainers are reinstalled.

The final look is quite dramatic. It doesn’t get much cooler than this.

The final look is quite dramatic. It doesn’t get much cooler than this.

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